Africa at Noon on April 10, 2013

Slavery in Africa: History, Memory and Commemoration

Dr. Jan-Georg Deutsch
University of Oxford

12:00pm, 206 Ingra­ham Hall, 1155 Obser­va­tory Drive, Madi­son, WI


Jan-Georg Deutsch works on the social and economic history of Africa from the nineteenth century to the present. He published studies of the end of slavery in East Africa and of colonial agricultural policies in West Africa. He is currently working on a book on the history of Zanzibar.


This paper examines the different ways in which slavery is remembered in contemporary Africa. The paper is based on fieldwork in East Africa, but the findings are compared with the emerging secondary literature that focuses on West and South Africa. The paper shows that memory and commemoration are largely driven by present-day concerns and often have little grounding in the past. However, the past has not completely vanished, but reflects the specific history of slavery and abolition that is embodied in each region.